So, in lieu of Maternity Monday, I wanted to do a feature on the best products for new moms and their babies. Whether you’re a new mom or you have a friend or relative that’s about to be a new mom – I wanted to share the products that changed my life. Believe me, I bought EVERY product under the sun – from the peepee teepee (forget about it – my little boy peed in my mouth about a week after we got out of the hospital – the thing is useless) to about 5 different bouncy chairs – I am that sucker that will try anything and everything. Having said that, now I truly know what the truly genius products are. By the way, they are generally not the most expensive, flashy, beautifully designed products – kids hate that – they tend to gravitate towards the plastic ,colorful, less expensive items. This is great because you don’t have to spend too much money BUT it does mean you may have a few eye sores knocking about. My theory is, whatever works. So, here are my top picks for all new moms, mom’s to be, or even mom’s still in their first year.
1) The Baby Monitor. I actually don’t have this. I have the Motorola one that is hardwired in his nursery, but THIS is on my xmas list and I have friends who have it – its a camera monitor that connects to a free app for your mobile device that allows you to check in on what’s happening with your little one whether you’re in the next room or out to dinner. Absolutely genius piece of technology that will allow you to check in on your baby from just about anywhere!
2) The Happiest Baby on the Block book. This book changed my life. Seriously. I was in the throws of newborn madness, not understanding anything about babies or what my little guy needed. I read this book and in seconds I could calm my baby down using Dr. Karp’s techniques. My husband couldn’t believe it and it gave me the confidence that I could handle the new mom thing… A must have.
3) The C-Section panty. I had an emergency C-Section. After 14+ hours of labor we realized this little guy was not coming out the old fashioned way – so he entered the world through the sunroof. It was not what I had been anticipating, but at 9lbs 5oz that big baby only had one way he was coming out of me. Recovery was tough and I am still a bit freaked out by the scar. These underwear are amazing because they’re like Spanx helping to compress everything, which you need to do post partum anyway, and there is a patch that runs along where your scar to give you that extra protection and healing. I would wear this under another compression garment and it gave me the security I needed. I highly recommend this to all c-section moms!
4) The hands free pumping bra. This one is for the breast feeders/pumpers out there. My baby was so big that I had to start pumping immediately in order to get my milk production up and supplement every breast feed with an extra ounce of pumped. I felt like I was tethered to either my son or my breast pump. Once I discovered the hands free bustier I was on cloud nine. I could read a book, write an email, even engage with my son while this bustier and my breast pump did the work.
5) The Aiden + Anais burpy bib. You simply can NOT have enough burp clothes. You use them constantly and you will have them in every room in your house. I was seriously using about 20 a day with all the spit up and burping. These Aiden + Anais are the best – super absorbent, plush, adorable prints AND they double as a bib! They easily sit on your shoulder for burping but can also snap around your babies neck when the drooling starts…
6) This zipper one piece. I can not begin to explain the frustration of snaps. I had countless adorable pi’s for Max that were snap closures that I used, maybe, one once before I realized my life shouldn’t have to be this hard. When you are dealing with a wriggling little baby – especially during those middle of the night diaper changes – trying to line up snaps is the worst… Forget about it. My friend (who has 3 kids) told me to get the zipper one pieces and I have never looked back. Easy breezy – one zip, a snap at the top and done.
7) Following on the frustration of snaps – the swaddle blankets… Again, very cute, but trying to get those swaddles just right and tight enough so that little one can’t break out of it… Impossible! ESPECIALLY during those middle of the night feeds and changes when you can barely see straight. I stocked up on these Summer Infant Swaddle Me velcro swaddles. They come in cotton, organic cotton, micro fleece and in various colors and prints. They are GAME CHANGERS. When I would lie my son down and put his little feet in the bottom of this swaddle and velcro him up it was almost pavlovian – he would just go to sleep the minute he heard the velcro. One more thing that could make my life a tiny bit easier.
8) The monkey chair. Yes, it is hideous. A friend of mine had one and I would laugh at how ugly it was when I would visit her during my pregnancy. Night #3 after bringing baby Max home from the hospital I was frantically ordering this monkey chair on Diapers.com at about 3 in the morning. When my husband woke up I told him our lives were about to change – the monkey chair would be there the next day. Our lives did change. This chair is AMAZING. The toy bar we took off until he was about 5 months and could enjoy it more – but the chair vibrates and can be rocked and is so lightweight and portable you can bring your baby from room to room while he snoozes or just hangs out. I could shower, cook, even do some work while Max happily hung out in his chair. Recently, I was at a friend’s house who has an 8 week old and I found hidden behind her sofa, the monkey chair. I screamed, you got it! And she sheepishly admitted she caved and that she too had been converted to monkey chair lover.
9) The Baby Einstein take along tunes. Its a simple idea – a little box that plays various classical music tunes with the press of a large colorful button. There are colorful lights, its easy to hold, chew and it truly is THE BEST baby toy on the market. Max is now 18 months and he can STILL be entertained by it.
10) The whale tub. I have had several baby baths and this one is by far the best. My son is OBSESSED with bath time, in part, because of this tub. It was comfortable for him as a newborn, its slightly padded along the back and it has a little shelf for him to sit and then then when he got bigger we could remove the shelf when he was able to sit on his own. Of course, he grew out of it months and months ago, but I will always recommend the whale tub – it set him up for a lifetime of enjoying the bath.
11) The Snug-a-puppy cradle and swing. So, mine was actually the snug-a-bunny but its the same thing – it swings gently from side to side, it holds them tightly and snuggly, it plays various lullabies or relaxing sounds and it even has a mirror with revolving toys that spins around for them to look at. It is a nap machine. Put your baby in this, turn it out and s/he’ll be out like a light in no time.
12) The amazing books. Story time is SO important, its a great opportunity for teaching, learning, engaging and language development. Sometimes it seems like they’re not getting much out of it, but keep it up. I struggled when Max would just crawl away and seem disinterested, but my pediatrician suggested putting him on my lap with some snacks (this is obviously when he was a bit older) and have him engaging with the snacks picking them out of the cup and eating while I read to him. It worked and now he will grab books and bring them to me all the time – and of course these books aren’t just for the first year but stories they will enjoy for years to come. There are of course all the classics: Dr. Seuss, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, but I wanted to share some future classics. A few books I’ve found and love and have memorized at this point because my son enjoys them so much…
13) The Summer Infant tiny diner placemat. I am obsessed with this. It rolls up neatly, so easy to put in your purse when going out for dinner or to a friends house. Basically its a placemat that suctions to the table and it has a little catcher that hangs over the edge of the table. When they’re first learning to eat you can pretty much forget about plates and cutlery – this mat is perfect because you can just lay food out for them so they can feed themselves and you don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the table their eating off.
14) The clip on table chair. I actually don’t have this because I inherited a friend’s high chair when she moved, but I have several friends who have this and it’s amazing. It clips on to any table (without damaging the table) its pretty light weight and easy to bring with to restaurants or to people’s houses. This is key because, obviously, restaurants generally have high chairs but when going over to a friend of family member’s home (where high chairs might not be in abundance) this is amazing!
15) Leap Frog’s My Friend Scout (or Violet – she’s purple). I am slightly obsessed with this toy. Its a cute stuffed animal that has a usb port so you can plug it into your computer to download some of your little one’s favorite songs and upload his or her name, favorite color, food and animal – so the toy is customized for baby! Press the paws for various songs and personal messages for your baby. I wish they had this when I was a kid – its Teddy Ruxpin on a whole other level.